If you want to make your mark on the world in a positive way, if you want to achieve something meaningful, if you want to be an inventor or an artist or a really good parent, there is only one way to do it: keep doing the work.
We see the Newtons and Mozarts and Zuckerbergs of the world and wonder at how they got there so quickly, how they did something that stuck, did something that had an impact on more than just themselves. It’s romantic to think they accomplished what they did effortlessly, through a stroke of genius, intuitively.
But we all know this mythic notion is based in . . . well, myth.
A new book (which I haven’t read but ordered today) examines how vastly influential creations came into being not through some lucky, overnight success, but through determination, toil and stick-to-itiveness. The author of How To Fly a Horse, Kevin Ashton, is a tech pioneer whose research claims that the successes of the majority of individuals whom we refer to as geniuses in their fields, are simply the result of people plugging away to pursue their ideas and turn them into reality.
The good news is that Ashton’s research suggests that anybody can achieve creative success as long as they are willing to put in the time and effort. According to Ashton, the people who believe the myth of it being easy, of their being a magic button, are way less likely to be productive than the people who recognize that momentary inspirations are usually the result of diligent, arduous work.
According to Ashton,
“Our ego might say . . . I’ll get it right the first time, but in every field, success is about starting with a bad beginning and gradually figuring out how to improve that until, years later, you’ve accomplished the things you set out to accomplish.”
I don’t know about you, but this gives me hope that one day I will make my mark.
Lord knows I’ve been putting in the work for an awfully long time.
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